Cineast Movie Previews: ‘Gabriel,’ ‘Infinitely Polar Bear,’ ‘The Overnight’

Rory Culkin in "Gabriel."
Rory Culkin in "Gabriel."

Rory Culkin plays the title role in Gabriel, a film-festival downer-thriller that probably isn’t the film to see if you have a college-aged kid with an obsessive nature. Of course, Gabriel is more than obsessed, he’s fixated, and his fixation is focused on Alice, his first love. Failing to find Alice at her university, he goes off on an increasingly desperate search for her. Culkin has wowed the festival circuit with his creepy, seamless portrayal of the troubled Gabriel, and the film has been lauded as a taut, tension-filled career maker by critics and fans alike.

Infinitely Polar Bear
Mark Ruffalo plays Cameron Stuart, a manic depressive father in Infinitely Polar Bear. The film, set in the early ’70s, portrays the struggles of a mentally ill man trying to be an effective father, and the struggles of his school-aged children to cope with their unstable dad. Because of his frequent breakdowns, Cameron is unable to hold down a job, and so he arranges with his wife Maggie (Zoe Saldana) that she should take over as breadwinner for the family and that he should stay home with the children. It being the ’70s, this family decision is considered quite radical and makes the family even more unusual—they are already a bi-racial household. It also makes it difficult for Cameron, as a man who was brought up with expectations of professional achievement and in an era in which professional achievement was considered a masculine prerequisite, to maintain his self-respect and his dignity in the eyes of the world. The title of the film is based on a childish misinterpretation of the term bipolar.

The Overnight
In The Overnight, Alex and Emily (Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling) have just moved from Seattle to L.A. with their son RJ, and they meet Kurt and Charlotte (Jason Schwartzman and Judith Godréche) and their son Max in a local park. Kurt invites the newcomers over for dinner, but as dinner is drawing to a close, the evening begins to move in an increasingly bizarre direction. First, Kurt offers to put the kids to bed, and won’t really take no for an answer—so now the guests are seemingly expected to stay the night. Then he and his wife start putting the moves on their guests. The humor here obviously derives from the awkward situations, as well as Jason Schwartzman’s…Jason Schwartzman-ness. Alex and Emily don’t just run away because, after all, they’re trying to be good guests for their strange host. Also, coming from Seattle, they aren’t sure if maybe this is just what L.A. is like.

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